Apr 14

vCoffee Links Issue #1 – Monday 4/14/2014

vCoffee Links will be a weekly feature on vHersey.com. vCoffee Links will feature news and links of interest from the past week or so. If you have something interesting to add please submit it in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @herseyc.

The inspiration for the vCoffee Links comes from a regular group of twitter friends: @coolsport00, @tscalzott, @susangude, and @mattvogt. We wish each other a good day on Saturday and Sunday while enjoying our morning caffeine fix. This is when I am catching up on the happenings of the week so I decided to make a weekly feature of it here at vHersey.com.

The format will probably evolve over time and it may or may not always be on Monday morning. Now on to the good stuff…
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Apr 11

Advertise on vHersey.com

If you are a regular visitor you may have noticed the Advertise Here spaces that have appeared on the home page and at the top of each post and page on vHersey.com. I hoping to use this advertising space to offset some of the cost associated with hosting, lab gear, etc.

Advertising on vHersey.com is inexpensive and there are 5 spots available. A 125×125 image and link is just $35/month. I am not trying to make money here, just trying to offset costs (and maybe fill up the bike a couple times here and there). I am looking for advertisers that offer products that focus on virtualization and cloud services.

Here are some vHersey.com stats:

  • 450-500 visitors per day
  • 1100-1500 page views per day
  • 30-50 RSS Feed visitors per day
  • 250-300 RSS page views per day
  • Visitor find vHersey.com using terms such as: VCP, home lab, VCAP, esxi console, powercli, autolab, DCUI, along with many others.
  • Just over 900 followers on twitter

Most of the visitors to vHersey.com are looking for information on VMware certifications or ideas on getting there home labs up and running. Some of the most popular post include:

I have a lot of plans for content here at vHersey.com and am committed to at least one new post each week. If you would like to give advertising on vHersey.com a try just click here and use the code FIRST5 to get 50% off the first month. The FIRST5 discount code is only available to the first five advertisers and will expire on May 31, 2014.

Thanks!

Mar 25

Saving Searches with the vSphere Web Client

I have been forcing myself to use the Web Client more and more. Change sucks but I am starting to get use to where things are located and what bits have changed. Even starting to get use to the difference in the responsiveness of the Web Client as compared to the the thick/Windows/C#/whatever Client (I usually refer to it as the Windows Client). There are a few nice functions that are available, have been expanded, or have been enhanced in the vSphere Web Client.

The ability to search vCenter inventory from the vSphere Client has been available for at least as long as I have been using it but each time you wanted to search for something you had to recreate the query.

There are 3 types of searches available in both the Web Client and Windows Client:

  • Quick Search – Enter search terms in the search box located top right in the Clients. Inventory items with names matching the terms are displayed in a window under the search box.
  • Simple Search – Pretty much the same as the Quick Search but accessed from a link on the Client Home screen.
  • Advanced Search – Accessed from Simple Search using the Advance Search link in the Web Client or the Show options link in the Windows Client. Advance Search allows you to create more complex queries to search the inventory.

The Web Client adds the ability to save commonly used searches. This allows for regularly used queries to be recalled quickly when using the Web Client.

webclient-search

For example let’s say you want to be able to quickly determine which virtual machines in the inventory are configured with a specific VM Hardware compatibility.

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Mar 24

Citrix PVS Write Cache Design Considerations

Citrix Provisioning Services (PVS) streams a single disk image to multiple devices. Provisioning Services can be used to deliver a Windows OS to a device which can be either a physical or virtual machine. Devices provisioned using PVS boot from the network and do not require a local disk.

PVS-provision

The streamed image is read-only and changes, writes, are cached to a write cache location configured per streamed image. The image itself is non-persistent, user persistent data can be redirected to another location or stored on a personal vDisk that has been associated with the device.

An important design consideration when provisioning using PVS becomes; where should you put write cache for images deployed using PVS? Unfortunately like any design consideration the answer is: it depends and there may be more than one good way to do it. There are a number of ways to configure write cache but for this article I am going to look at two of the most commonly used options: Cache on Device Hard Disk and Cache on Server Disk.

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Mar 17

AutoLab with vSphere 5.5 Support!

In case you missed it AutoLab 1.5 has been released and includes support for vSphere 5.5. The ability to lab up VSAN is also supported in this version. AutoLab automates the deployment of a nested VMware lab either in VMware Workstation (or Fusion) or on ESXi.

AutoLab-color-leftside-72-dpi-300x74

Download AutoLab 1.5 and the deployment guide here http://www.labguides.com/autolab/.

I have not deployed this version yet (plan to get it going this weekend) but I have been running AutoLab in my home lab for a good while now. If you are looking for an easy to deploy vSphere lab environment to use for VCP or VCAP study – AutoLab is exactly what you need.

Mar 16

JumpSquares – Fantastic Home Lab Bookmark Tool

A couple weeks ago Mark Gabryjelski (@markgabbs) presented a ProfessionalVMware.com vBrownBag on Home Lab Builds. Unfortunately my schedule has not allowed me to join in on a vBrownBag live in good while. Luckily for all of us the follow-up recordings are usually available just a day or two after (joining live is still WAY better).

One of the interesting tools that was mentioned (lot of #vBrownBag twitter discussion during the BrownBag) during the vBrownBag was JumpSquares. The JumpSquares project from Kendrick Coleman is a bookmarking tool that allows you to bookmark not only URLs but also SSH, RDP, and VNC. JumpSquares is available in two flavors: a hosted SaaS version or an appliance you can download and deploy.

If you have trouble keeping up with all the different access UIs and servers in your lab (vCenter, vCOPs, vCO, NAS Admin UI, etc, etc, etc) JumpSquares may be the simple (and FREE) solution you are looking for. You can easily setup bookmarks, or squares, to the URLs for Administration interfaces. JumpSquares also provides the ability to configure and launch SSH, RDP, or VNC access from a square.

I am using the appliance version and below is the main JumpSquare page for my home lab. As you can see in the image I have created JumpSquares for quick access to the UIs in my lab.

JumpSquares-main

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Mar 09

Changes to the VCP – Recertification

If you have not already heard VMware has made some changes to the VMware Certified Professional (VCP) certification effective March 10, 2014 (but already showing up in MyLearn). The new policy states that VCP certifications will now expire after 2 years unless you either re-certify or certify on a newer version.

If you check your MyLearn account you should notice that your VCP certification(s) now have an expiration date.
vcp4-expire
VCP certification obtained before March 10, 2013 have been set to expire on March 10, 2015.

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Feb 27

Quick HRVMUG Meeting Report

Last night members of the Hampton Roads VMware Community met at Jillian’s in Chesapeake to take the first steps towards reviving the Hampton Roads VMUG. Over 20 people attended the meeting. The room was not optimal for the meeting, it was a little louder than expected, but overall things went very well. It looks like there is plenty of interest in the area to get this thing rolling again.

Great meeting and thanks to all who attended.

If you are interested in keeping up with what is going on with the Hampton Roads VMUG please join VMUG (it is free) and subscribe to the Hampton Roads, VA VMUG Workspace. We will use the forum and mailing list located there for future announcements.

A special thanks to ABS Technology Architects for sponsoring the room and the refreshments. Also, thanks to Brian, @vmroyale, for providing a copy of his VCP5 Study Guide for a door prize.

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Feb 24

VCDX CXXVIII (#128)

On Monday, February 10, 2014 at 2:00 PM I defended the design I submitted before a panel of VCDXs. Just a few short (short in days, but the wait was in no way short) days later on Thursday, February 13, 2014 I received the results of my defense:

vcdx-128

I made it! My VCDX number is 128!

The preparation and the defense process were time consuming, very stressful, extremely educational, and ultimately enjoyable experiences. I learned a tremendous amount about my abilities as an Architect/Engineer and about the VMware design process.

When I was managing an IT department I had a mentor who would often say “there is value in the process.” I feel this is definitely true of the VCDX certification process. The process of documenting, submitting, and defending the design was an extremely valuable learning experience.
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Feb 22

VM User Group Meeting in Chesapeake on 2/26

There was a Hampton Roads VMUG that met occasionally but it has been inactive for some time. A couple of folks that have participated in the vITA program at TCC and myself are working to organize/revive the VMUG here in the Tidewater/Hampton Roads area of Virginia. The guys have been working to organize things through VMUG and we are having the first meeting next week..

The meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, February 26, 2014 from 6 PM to 8 PM at Jillian’s in Greenbrier Mall. This is in Chesapeake right off I-64 and Greenbrier Parkway. The address is 1401 Greenbrier Parkway, Suite 1020, Chesapeake, VA 23320. We have the conference room and sodas/tea will be provided.

So far we have had over 20 people RSVP for the meeting, so it looks like there should be a good turn out.

I will be giving a short presentation on vCOP/vSOM and some folks from ODU may be giving a presentation on how they are using vCOPs for View to monitor their VDI environment. We will also be discussing the plans for moving forward with regular VMUG meetings and looking for folks to volunteer to help out.

If you are interested but unable to attend this meeting on Wednesday please join VMUG (it is free) and subscribe to the Hampton Roads, VA VMUG Workspace. We will use the forum and mailing list located there for future announcements.

A big thanks to ABS Technology Architects for sponsoring the room and refreshments for this first meeting.

Hope to see you at Jillian’s on Wednesday, 2/26, at 6 PM!

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